Do you fly United Airlines on a regular basis? Then you probably know that earning and redeeming miles in MileagePlus is a cinch compared to many other frequent flyer programs.
Plus, United is part of Star Alliance – a pretty big deal considering this is the largest airline alliance out there!
Still, the more miles you rack up as a MileagePlus member, the better your redemption options. We’re going to show you some useful strategies for earning lots of miles – as many as 100,000 in 90 days!
Let’s get started!
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Why Would You Want to Earn 100k Miles?
If you’re asking, “Why would I want to earn so many miles??” consider checking out our detailed guide to maximizing your redemptions. It includes example flight awards for couple’s getaways, family beach vacations, and even an Asian adventure.
The list of options for using your miles is practically endless! It’s simply a matter of banking those miles as quickly as possible so you can get traveling.
1. Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards
Your best option for earning United miles is actually to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The Ultimate Rewards credit cards often come with several bonus categories that can help boost your earning potential.
Sign-up bonuses for these cards often vary between 15,000-80,000 points with the premium cards having the higher bonuses. To earn the sign-up bonus, you must meet a minimum spend requirement. Once you do so, points generally post to your account when your statement closes but it can take up to 8 weeks.
Keep in mind that you must have at least 1 of the premium Ultimate Rewards cards (i.e. one with an annual fee) to be able to transfer all your points to your United account.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card which has a 60,000 point bonus (highest ever) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. |
This sign up bonus is worth $750 in travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals etc) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal, which works like Expedia. The bonus alone could get you multiple round-trip flights or hotel stays.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $450 annual fee.|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A simple, no annual fee card that earns you 3% cash-back on all purchases in your first year (up to $20,000 spent), then 1.5% on all purchases after that. Just know that you won't get any travel benefits or the ability to earn bonus points with this card.|
Recommended Chase Cards (Business)
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card - This is our #1 recommended business card and comes with a whopping 80,000 sign up bonus after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases (flights, hotels etc). Also, if you pay for your cell phone bill with this card, you can get up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year.|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card - earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. In addition, get up to 5% cash back on a range of business expenses. A simple, $0 annual fee card.|
2. Use Chase United Credit Cards
Your other option is to use United MileagePlus co-branded cards, which are listed in the table below.
Depending on the card, you may qualify for a sign-up bonus of 30,000-50,000 points after you reach the minimum spend threshold within the first 3 months. Periodically, Chase offers sign-up bonuses worth an extra 20,000 points, for 50,000-70,000 points total!
If you’re lucky enough to apply for a card during such a promotion, you can be halfway (or further) to your goal of 100k points within a few months. Sign up for a personal and business card, and you can meet (or beat) your goal as soon as you spend the required amount!
It can take up to 6-8 weeks for bonus points or a statement credit to appear after you qualify, but points usually post to your MileagePlus account much sooner than that.
Click on a link in the table below to learn more about United MileagePlus credit card offers.
|CREDIT CARD||BENEFITS & INFO|
|UnitedSM Explorer Card|
|UnitedSM Explorer Business Card|
3. Go Shopping Online!
You have 2 terrific opportunities to earn United MileagePlus miles for online shopping.
United MileagePlus Shopping Portal: Choose from more than 850 participating retailers (like American Eagle Outfitters, Under Armour, and many others) and make a purchase through the portal to earn 2x-15x per $1 spent plus occasional bonuses.
Learn more about using the United shopping portal in our guide!
Other Retail Partners: Mercedes-Benz, FTD, and Bose are just 3 of the retail partners that offer miles for each purchase. Shop the MileagePlus Digital Media Store to earn at least 2 miles per $1 spent on audiobooks, eBooks, and music.
Hot Tip: Download the United MileagePlus X app to your smartphone from the iTunes or Google Play store to receive exclusive bonus mile offers.
3. Buy Concert Tickets
Purchase tickets for sporting events, music concerts, and theater performances through 2 partner programs: Audience Rewards (50-2,000 miles per ticket) or ScoreBig (1,000 miles first purchase, then up to 10,000 miles for 2+ tickets).
4. Donate to Find a Cure
Fly to Find a Cure is a program that supports the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Donate at least $25 to the program, and you’ll receive 1 mile per $1 spent in return. It takes 4-6 weeks for these miles to post to your account.
Using Those 100k+ United MileagePlus Miles
As we’ve mentioned, you have plenty of redemption options with MileagePlus. Here are 3 ideas to think about:
Fly First Class on Thai Airways: Thai Airways doesn’t currently fly to the United States, but if you are traveling between Southeast Asia and Europe, you can use 145,000 United miles to book first class. Plus, you can enjoy the Thai Airways First Class Lounge if departing from or connecting in Bangkok!
Travel to Africa in Business Class: Want to visit Africa? Redeem 80,000 United MileagePlus miles to fly on a Star Alliance carrier to Africa from the U.S.
Lufthansa First Class: Redeem 110,000 miles and fly in style on a one-way first class ticket from the U.S. on Lufthansa. Connecting through Frankfurt allows you to visit the First Class Terminal, known for its absolutely fabulous airport lounge. You can even take a bath while you wait for your flight!
By now, we hope it’s clear how easily you can earn 100,000 United MileagePlus miles in a very short time. For more strategies, read our guide to earning miles, which includes loads of examples you can learn from.
For instance, you might want to check out the United Dining program to maximize your earning.
Let your imagination go to work as you select the best ways to spend those points!